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character reverenced. So valuable a property then, as a good name, may well deserve to be guarded with care. Nay, we may surely be allowed to seek for eminent degrees of regard from those about us, in order to be of more eminent advantage to them. This consideration pleads with peculiar force, for a degree of tenderness and even jealousy of reputation in those, who are the salt of the earth. Much regard must be paid by them to the sentiments; some, even to the prejudices of those, that they have to do with. These maxims Dr. Doddridge endeavoured to keep in his view; and there were few persons, in his station, who enjoyed so great a share of the public esteem, and whose writings were in so much reputation; and therefore few, in whom some degree of selfcomplacence might have been more easily excused.
The desire of extending his usefulness, falling in with the natural courteousness of his temper, might perhaps incline him to set too high a value upon the good opinion of the world in general, and render him too solicitous to obtain it. It is hard even for a wise and good man always to distinguish between a desire of popularity on its own account, and that concern about his reputation, and the acceptableness of what he offers to the public, which is necessary to render him serviceable to it: And while he thinks he is only influenced by the latter of these principles, he may, unawares to himself, be in some degree under the power of the former. How far this was the case with Dr. Doddridge, it is impossible for any one to say, unless he could have looked into his breast, and seen the secret springs of his actions. I am fully persuaded, that the grand and governing principles, on which he acted, were those of the noblest kind; and that no desire of popularity or applause could influence him in any case, in which he thought the interest of truth or religion concerned. These he always held sacred, and, compared with these, he considered even reputation and esteem as of no account. This I may venture to assert, from a long and intimate acquaintance with him; and from a view of his private papers, in which he lays open, with the greatest impartiality, all that passed in his own mind upon a variety of occasions. In them the secret springs of his actions do, in effect, appear; and from them it is evident, that the esteem of the world, instead of elating his mind, produced deeper humiliation before God, and higher admiration of divine favour and grace manifested to him. I find him, in some hints of his devout reflec
tions and exercises in secret, often bewailing his negligence, mispence of time, and how little he had done for God, in comparison with what he should and might have done; and expressing the greatest self-abasement, in acknowledging some instances of respect and success, which God had given him. "June 26, 1728, It grieves me, saith he, and fills me with remorse, to think, that a creature born in a christian country and a pious family, furnished with capacities and endowments for considerable service, early devoted to God, not only by the action of its parents, but its own solemn engagements; a creature taken care of by God in so remarkable a manner, when forsaken by earthly parents; visited with continual instances of goodness; blessed with health, though of a weak constitution; surrounded with plenty, though without any certain subsistence; beloved and esteemed by friends, notwithstanding much perverseness to forfeit their regards; a creature employed in the public services of the ministry; and pursuing it often with the appearances of the warmest zeal for God, and the tenderest compassion for souls; should after all behave in so unworthy a manner as I have done. It confounds me to think how often I have forgotten God, and dealt falsely in his covenant; to reflect on the formality of my devotions, the mispence of my time, and the indulgence of irregular passions. I confess my guilt and unworthiness before God, and humbly cast myself on his forgiving grace, and on the powerful mediation of my blessed Redeemer, as the only things which can give me a foundation of hope."
"I thank you," saith he, in a letter to a friend, " for your congratulation on the acceptance of my book on the Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. I have had accounts from several of my friends of its being the instrument of converting and edifying many. But I bless God, I have not found my heart inwardly exalted on this occasion; but rather deeply and affectionately humbled before him, under this instance of his goodness to an unworthy sinner, as I know myself to be; and a weak ignorant creature, who every day sees the very narrow limits of his own understanding, and his great want of furniture of every kind, adequate to the station, in which I am fixed. The great favour he shewed me in my late sickness, in the extraordinary comfort which he gave me in my soul, and that steady joyful view of heaven, amidst all the agitation of the most painful disease, did really operate to humble me deeply in his presence. And I think if ever I have been enabled to bring the glory of any thing in me, or done by me, to the foot of the throne and leave it there, it has most sensibly been the case with
respect to this book. And this I say without affectation, and to you as my endeared friend, to whom I can most affectionately open my heart without reserve."
To another of his friends he thus writes, "I have just been explaining, and I have great need of using, the publican's prayer, God be merciful to me a sinner; to me an unprofitable servant, who have deserved long since to have been cast out of his family. You talk of my strength and usefulness; Alas! I am weak and unstable as water. My frequent deadness and coldness in religion sometimes presseth me down to the dust. And, methinks, it is best when it doth so. How could I bear to look up to heaven, were it not for the righteousness and blood of a Redeemer? I have been reading the life of the excellent Mr. Brainerd; and it has greatly humbled and quickened me, pray for me, that God may fill my soul with his presence; that Christ may live and reign in my heart, and that love to him and zeal for him may swallow up every other passion; that I may have more confirmed resolutions for that best of masters; of whom, when I get a lively view, I know not how to have done thinking or speaking of him."
He had a deep sense of the weight of his undertakings, and the necessity of divine assistance to strengthen him for his labours and make them successful. "I hope, saith he, I can truly say, my God is exciting in my heart some growing zeal for his service, both as a minister and a tutor. But really a sense of the vast weight of these offices, when united, is sometimes more than I know how to bear. It is of such infinite importance, that young ministers come out in the spirit of the gospel, which is humility, simplicity, love, zeal, devotion and diligence, in a degree far beyond what is commonly seen; and it is so difficult to bring them to it and keep them in it, through the pride and folly of the human heart, that sometimes I am almost ready to sink under the discouraging scene.I hope God will keep me under a constant sense of my own imperfections; and, if he calls me out to any particular services, shew his strength in weakness and his grace in unworthiness. I know, that with regard to academical and ministerial labours, all depends on the increase, which God is pleased to give. He has taught me this by briars and thorns, though I thought I was sensible of it before. He has shewed me by some painful instances, how precarious the most promising hopes are; that I may trust, not in myself, nor in man, but in his grace in Christ Jesus, on which I desire to live more and more
myself, and to which I would daily recommend my pupils, my children and all my friends."
I am sensible, that some may be apt to think, that such very humbling expressions, when used by a person in his letters to his friends, savour too much of an affectation of humility, which, it must be owned, is widely different from the thing itself. But when it is considered, that the same language is used by him in those papers, which he intended only for his own perusal, and which relate to what passed between God and his own soul, I hope the candid reader will see no reason to doubt, but they both alike expressed his real sentiments.
While he had a deep sense of his own defects, he was disposed to do full justice to the abilities and good qualities of others. When he heard of the piety and zeal of other ministers and tutors, it gave him pleasure: He heartily rejoiced in their success and gave God thanks for it. I find notice taken of some such instances in his Devotional Exercises. In a letter to one of his brethren, he writes; "Methinks, I envy the happiness of those faithful servants of Christ, who, through many labours and dangers, are spreading his name; and I would fain have some fellowship with them in their labours of love. How much do we owe to that kind providence, which has also assigned a province of service to us; and no narrow or inconsiderable sphere! Let us take courage: His spirit does not move upon our hearts in vain. It is not given to grieve and afflict, by raising unsuccessful desires; but it is an earnest, that he will work mightily by us, in proportion to the degree in which he works upon us. May God give me more of this spirit; for sure I am, there is not a day, in which I have not reason to lie in the dust before him, as a guilty creature, as a slothful, and, in many instances, an unprofitable servant. I bless God I do feel something of a grow ing zeal in this best of causes, and have seen some instances of the success of my ministry, though but few. Perhaps God may remove me in the midst of life and services, and cause the interest of religion, here and elsewhere, to flourish much more after my death, than it has ever done in my life; and give those, who may most lament me, abundantly more edification, by those who may succeed me, as a minister or a tutor, than they ever had during my life and labours. And I heartily pray, that if he does so remove me, this may be the happy consequence. I hope, I can truly say, I shall be glad to be forgotten in the much superior services of my suc
cessors. I would live and die striving for the faith of the gospel, for the conversion of souls, for the good of my friends, my neighbours, my countrymen, and the whole world. This joy no man shall take from me, while God continues to pour forth upon an unworthy creature that spirit of love, which, through his astonishing grace to me, I feel."
I may mention, as an evidence of his humility, his behaviour to his pupils, as above described; particularly his readiness to hear any objections they had to make to his sentiments, as expressed in his lectures; and his freedom from a dogmatical, imperious, overbearing spirit, for which he was very remarkable, and which seems to me a very essential part of humility, especially in a learned man and, a teacher; as the contrary is the very essence of pride. In this light also must be considered, his relating tò his pupils his own juvenile indiscretions, both in his compositions, and conduct, as a caution to them. Yea, so great was his humility, that he desired his friends, the elders of his church, and even his pupils, freely to inform him, what they thought amiss in his conduct; and he thankfully accepted their admonitions: Being sensible that amidst the variety of his cares, some important business might be neglected, or have too little of his time; some errors might escape his notice, and some irregularities of temper be indulged, which he would be glad to rectify. Patience of reproof is certainly a branch of humility and a very important one; and this he discovered. When he had once received an admonition from a faithful friend, he thus writes to him; "I do such justice to your experienced friendship, that you need not give yourself the trouble of gilding a reproof or caution, but may advance it in the plainest terms and with the utmost freedom. For indeed, I know I have many faults, and I think it one of the greatest felicities of life to be put into a way of correcting any of them: And when a friend attempts this, I place it to the account of the greatest obligations; even though, on the strictest examination, I should apprehend, that some mistaken view of things had been the immediate occasion of such a generous and selfdenying office of friendship." As a stronger evidence that he was possessed of this amiable temper, I would add, that in one of his diaries, there is an account of an admonition he had received from a friend, concerning an improper gesture in his public prayers, which seemed to denote a want of a due reverence for God: Upon which he writes; "I would engrave this admonition upon my heart. May it not be owing to